In today's editorial, the Daily News chides the Nutter Administration for failing to announce a plan for citizen input in the budget process. The editorial argues public engagement is as important now as ever:
Not only is the city budget a document that sets the basic priorities of city government that all city residents should have a say in, but the budget challenges that the city faces are no less complex this time around.
For one thing, we don't know what the deficit will be (a $31 million deficit was announced in November), and a recent arbitration ruling granted 3 percent raises to police, which is likely to have a $80 million impact over the next five years. And that still doesn't take into account the as-yet-unresolved talks for the other unions.
Despite the clear need for people to have a say on the budget, the city still has a lot of work to do to make it happen.
By this time last year, the city had scheduled four big workshops organized by the Penn Project for Civic Engagement and WHYY in different neighborhoods. Nutter also solicited direct feedback from city employees and met with top aides to report the results. Transparency is always important, but especially so in times of fiscal hardship, when choices are more difficult.
In the meantime, “It's Our Money” will be collecting feedback.
You can visit www.ourmoneyphilly.com and leave a comment about what you think Nutter should do with his third city budget. We'll be collecting feedback all week. You can also send your letters to the Daily News or call 215-854-5307. We promise to send everything to City Hall.